The upcoming assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Kerala are expected to bring in some respite for the media industry, with leading political parties upping their ad-spends. All the leading parties put together including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) among others are expected to spend between Rs 195 crore and Rs 220 crore in advertising. “States such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala are important with a big number of seats. Also, much of the spend will be skewed towards TV, that is essentially news channels, followed by general entertainment channels, besides regional newspapers and radio,” a senior media analyst said on condition of anonymity.
Polls are to be held for a total of 824 seats – this includes 294 seats in West Bengal, 234 seats in Tamil Nadu, 140 seats in Kerala, 126 seats in Assam, and 30 seats in Puducherry.
West Bengal, where the BJP has been extremely aggressive with its campaign, is one of the key states in which the two big parties are expected to spend between Rs 120 crore – Rs 130 crore, followed by Tamil Nadu where political parties are expected to spend in the range of Rs 35 crore – Rs 40 crore. In Kerala and Assam ad spend is expected to remain in the range of Rs 20 crore – Rs 25 crore, respectively. According to Pankaj Krishna, founder, Chrome Data Analytics and Media, a data analytics company, the up-coming elections will definitely help the print industry regain its ground, which has suffered a tremendous blow in terms of ad revenue due to the pandemic. “TV which has already begun to register a growth is also expected to benefit from the spends. Further, the launch of Republic Bangla is an example of a high ad spend,” he added.
As per industry estimates, the cost of a 10-second ad spot in regional news channels such as Republic Bangla or ABP Ananda during prime time, that is between 8 pm – 10 pm, ranges anywhere between Rs 1,500 – Rs 2,000. While the cost of a 10-second ad on GECs such as Star Jhalsa and ZEE Bangla during prime time (between 8 pm to 11 pm) ranges between Rs 30 lakh – Rs 40 lakh. In Bengal, newspapers currently command a high ad rate. For instance, a jacket ad on Anandabazar Patrika bundled with Telegraph (English daily) from the house of ABP Group currently costs between Rs 60 lakh – Rs 70 lakh. Similarly, it is believed that the jacket of Times of India bundled with Eisamay (Bengali daily) costs anywhere between Rs 30 lakh – Rs 40 lakh.
Down South, it is the Sun Group that dominates the market, especially in television. As per industry estimates, the cost of a 10-second ad spot on news channels such as Sun News is between Rs 2,500 – Rs 4,500, while the cost rises to Rs 60,000 – Rs 70,000 in the case of GECs. The cost of a jacket in newspapers such as the Hindu ranges between Rs 90,000 – Rs 1 lakh. In the case of regional papers such as Daily Thanthi and Dinakaran, the cost of a jacket ranges between Rs 60,000 – Rs 70,000.